Joanna Lumley: I don't watch The Crown because I know it's made up

The last series faced criticism for allegedly not doing enough to ensure viewers knew it was a work of fiction.

Joanna Lumley has said she does not watch The Crown because its portrayal of the royal family is “made up”, and she feels many viewers will believe it to be true.

The fourth series of the lavish Netflix drama attracted criticism for allegedly not doing enough to ensure viewers knew it was a work of fiction.

Released late last year, it featured Diana, Princess of Wales (Emma Corrin) and dramatises her relationship with Charles (Josh O’Connor).

The Crown
Olivia Colman as the Queen in The Crown (Netflix/PA)

Oliver Dowden, the then culture secretary, asked Netflix to add a disclaimer to episodes, a request the company denied.

Lumley, 75, said she believes the royals are much closer as a family than generally thought.

She told the Jonathan Ross Show: “I think we all look from the outside and we don’t actually know what’s going on on the inside – we second guess it.

“And I think we all believe television shows that are made about them, like The Crown. I don’t watch it because I know it’s made up…

“These are real people and suddenly they’re made up to be different people and I don’t think it’s right.

“I don’t think we really know what goes on behind anybody’s closed doors. I think, I have a suspicion, that that family’s much closer than we think.”

The actress, presenter and author recently published the book A Queen For All Seasons, and revealed she had sent the monarch a copy, and received a response.

Queen spends night in hospital
The Crown follows the life and reign of the Queen (Steven Paston/PA)

She said: “I sent her a copy of the book. I asked the aides of the palace, they said, ‘We’ll see that it’s placed before Her Majesty’.

“I love the idea that it went in on a trolley and it was placed before Her Majesty, who might have even picked it up and looked at it with that lovely Andy Warhol image on the front.

“Her majesty sent a message to say she was grateful I’d taken the trouble to send the book and sent her warmest wishes.”

Lumley said her experience of meeting members of the royal family had been positive.

She said: “If you do meet any member of the royal family, they are so kind and so friendly and so polite and not grand. You’ll find kindly, goodhearted people.”

Speaking about the Queen, she added: “She is down to earth. A friend of mine who was a grand old painter, he painted the Queen several times.

“One day she was sitting for him and she said, ‘Do you think it’s cold in here?’

“She said, ‘I think it’s cold.’ She got on her knees, got some twigs… set a little fire going (in the hearth). You kind of don’t imagine the Queen doing that.”

The Jonathan Ross Show airs on Saturday at 10.05pm on ITV and ITV Hub.

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